Coroners say they need more space

Carlisle/West Shore

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – For the past six years, the Cumberland and Dauphin County coroners have been working together out of the forensic center located in Dauphin County. They both perform autopsies in the building but need more space as autopsy requests rise.

​​​​​​”We have a small space to begin with and between the two counties, we have over 500,000 people and our numbers continue to rise, and they’re not going to go down,” Cumberland County Coroner Charlie Hall said.

Both coroners say they are busier than they were five years ago and attribute that to the rise of overdoses and suicides.

“The caseload and the complexity of each case is much greater than it was in the past,” Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick said.

Hall is bracing for a bigger caseload as a new hospital in Hampden Township, a level one trauma center, is built. 

“When they fly them in there and they pass away at those hospitals, it’s our case,” Hall said. 

Both coroners say between the two of them, they perform about 300 autopsies a year. 

“We have to move the coroner’s office into the 21st century, and we have to do it in such a way that we can service the surrounding community for the next 20 to 30 years,” Hetrick said. 

Hall says it makes sense to share the space and the equipment. Hall and Hetrick plan to ask Dauphin County Commissioners to consider a portion of gaming money along with grants to make the expansion possible.

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